Summer is the time for travel, and I guarantee that you will struggle at least once to cram everything into a small suitcase for your big adventure. Here are 20 tips to help you pack fast and well so you can get on the road.
1. Decide Exactly What You're Taking
...and what you're not. Having a concrete list is the most important part of packing. If you don't have a list, you run the risk of tossing extra things in their that you don't need.
2. Follow A Formula
Pack three tops for every bottom. Pants and bottoms usually take up more room than shirts, and if you wear a pair of pants a couple of times, no one will really notice. Variety on top, subtlety on bottom is always a good rule of thumb.
3. Stick to Neutral Clothing
...and then accessorize. Throw in a bright top or two, but ultimately stick to clothing that's easily matchable for a variety of outfit combinations.
4. Bring Clothes You Will Wear
This seems obvious, but everyone has that one shirt they think they'll wear and then it just takes up space. Make sure you're only bringing clothes you know have use and you know you will wear on your trip.
5. Roll Your Clothes
Rolling works great for clothes that don't wrinkle easily and for bags without structure, such as a duffel. Rolling clothes saves space and makes everything more accessible within your bag.
6. Bundle Clothing
If something wrinkles easily, try bundling it. Start with an object like a toiletries case and bundle the clothes around that object. That way, you pack the object and the clothing in a comprehensive manner and so the clothes won't wrinkle.
7. Line The Bottom
...with a plastic trash bag. After you're finished packing, lay another one on top and tuck in the sides. This way, if you're unloading in the rain or your luggage gets wet, your clothing won't.
8. Place Shoes and Heavy Items Near Wheels
If you stash shoes and heavy items near the wheel base of a suitcase, it adjusts the whole case's center of gravity and makes it easier for you to wheel it (inevitably through an airport, almost late for your flight).
9. Use Rolled Clothes As Foundation
Lay a tightly packed foundation of rolled clothing so that everything else stays in place. Make sure you're packing rolls really tightly, otherwise you'll waste precious space in your case.
10. Second Level
On top of the rolled clothing, place folded clothing such as dresses and skirts. Lay them as flat as you possibly can for maximum space.
11. Top Level
This is where crushable items like big dresses or molded bras should go to ensure they keep their shape throughout your trip. Make sure you place them carefully and stuff bras with socks so they keep their shape while in transit.
12. Wrap Belts and Thin Accessories
Belts and necklaces can be wrapped around the exterior of the case so that they take up virtually no room.
13. Tuck All Other Essentials
Underwear, socks, swimsuits, scarves, etc. all get tucked in the extra nooks and crannies of your suitcase. The best place to tuck is the corners and then move inward.
14. Store Dirty Laundry in Air Tight Bags
Press the air out of the bags so you save the most space you can. Dirty laundry often takes up a lot of space, minimize it with this tip.
15. Cradle Fragile Souvenirs
You don't want them to break! Cradle them in soft, but bulky clothing like sweaters or other jacket-type clothing so they are properly stored in your case.
16. Don't Get Fancy with Your Bundles
Just place them in the bag. You run the risk of wrinkling if you try to do anything else with your perfect clothing bundle.
17. Place Shoes in Bottom of Soft Bags
This adds a little bit of structure to your unstructured bag and allows you to more easily pack clothes on top of the foundation you've laid.
18. Pack Rolled Clothes Tightly
Especially in soft bags where it's easy to waste space, pack rolled clothes as tightly as you can so that you can utilize all the space you have.
19. Lay Heels and Boots On Top
Only in a duffel or soft bag though. This will add an element of structure to the top of the bag as well, allowing you to carry and store it with greater ease.
20. Finish Off With Your Toiletries
Add your toiletries last so they're immediately accessible and because you'll need them up until you're ready to go. Just remember that they're on top and pack leak-prone toiletry items in plastic bags to prevent spilling.
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